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9 WEEKS EXACTLY

217 days to go...

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ultrasound of human embryo at 9 weeks exactly

Your baby today

The baby's hands can be clearly seen here but the fingers are still fused at this stage. The fingers will be completely separate in just one week's time and wrist movement is just about to begin.

By the end of this ninth week, your baby's digestive system is rapidly developing but won't function properly for some time.

Your baby is developing quickly inside the uterus. The simple tube forming along his gut has undergone most changes at the upper end. Now the lower part dilates as the single tube then divides into what will become the rectum at the back and then the bladder and urethra at the front.

Although the mouth is open to the amniotic fluid, there is still a membrane in place, which will disappear in one to two weeks' time. The lower bowel is not yet mature and does not move material along its length.

The remainder of the large bowel and small bowel is still lengthening. The duodenum is the first part of the small bowel and it is still a solid tube. The pancreas, gall bladder, and liver have all formed buds leading off from the upper small bowel, but none are yet contributing any digestive function.

Ask A... Doctor

Since I've been pregnant, I've had terrible headaches. Could computer work be the cause?

Tension headaches and migraines are common in pregnancy, probably due to fluctuating hormones, and it is not uncommon to have severe headaches with prolonged computer use. This could be due to eye strain and the fact that you are immobile, which can cause tension.

Take even more breaks from your computer screen now that you're pregnant. You'll probably find you need more bathroom breaks anyway. If this doesn't help, ask if you can do tasks that don't require computer use for a short time. Headaches are often worse in the first trimester.

pregnant woman with computer headache

Looking at a computer screen for long periods of time can make headaches – a common side effect of pregnancy – even worse. Take regular breaks and drink plenty of water since being dehydrated can exacerbate headaches.

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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